Here’s today’s roundup of science, nature and environment news from the Bay Area and beyond.

Sign in to read: Stephen Hawking trials device that reads his mind – 11 July 2012 – New ScientistTECHNOLOGY has helped Stephen Hawking in many ways, and now it might allow him to communicate using thought alone. The cosmologist is trialling a device that monitors brain activity with the ultimate aim of transforming it into speech. Hawking has motor neurone disease – nerve decay that has left him almost completely paralysed.

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Yahoo hacked, 450,000 passwords posted online – CNN.comHacker posts 450,000 Yahoo Voice account passwords Web page says the hack was meant as a warning to Yahoo Some users had painfully easy-to-crack passwords like “12345” or “password” (CNN) — Hackers posted online what they say is login information for more than 450,000 Yahoo users.

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via Cnn
Fukushima vs. Chernobyl: How Have Animals Fared?For a little bird, bee or butterfly trying to make it in the world, which is the worse place to land: Fukushima or Chernobyl? On the one hand, there’s the risk from the release of radioactive materials that occurred in Japan just over a year ago.

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Spare the Air – is anybody listening?“Isn’t the entire summer Spare the Air?” Gillian, 28, asked on a day when the air quality in the eastern and southern reaches of the Bay Area was predicted to slip into the unhealthy range for people with respiratory problems. No matter the season, when officials declare the public health alert with the catchy name, they urge commuters to ditch their single-occupancy cars and board public transportation.

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via Sfgate
Can fracking pollute water? Study tries to answerThe firm let scientists conduct baseline tests, allowed tracing elements to be added to hydraulic fracturing fluids and agreed to allow follow-up monitoring. Over the past five years, advances in drilling technology made the gas accessible, leading to a boom in production, jobs, and profits â and concerns about pollution.

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via Sfgate
It’s rats vs. penguins on contested Chilean islandInvading rats with bodies up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) long have begun eating eggs and chicks, and some experts fear that unless the rats are eradicated, they could tip the Humboldt penguin toward extinction. These penguins with distinctive black bands across their chests also are threatened by changing sea currents, fierce gulls and nesting pelicans whose relatively heavy bodies collapse their shallow earthen caves.

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via Sfgate
U.S. Feel Less Guilt About Environmental Choices : NPRA survey of global attitudes about the environment finds that Americans are unusually optimistic about an individual’s ability to make a difference in dealing with environmental issues. Despite that, Americans are less likely than many people elsewhere in the world to change their behaviors.

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via Npr

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